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COVID-19 and the Great Resignation

The latest news from Cafestudy

Posted by: Caféstudy

27th Jul 2022 11:34am

The COVID-19 pandemic turned many aspects of our lives upside down. One of the biggest disruptions was to how we worked. 

Frontline workers bore the brunt putting in shift after shift in our busy hospitals, supermarkets and essential services. 

Those who work in hospitality, retail and tourism among other industries had to deal with shutdowns due lockdown restrictions. And those who work in offices found themselves at home, learning how to use Zoom and juggling online learning. 

The impacts of these changes are still felt today through our changed habits, revised expectations, and re-evaluations of what is most important in life. For some, the pandemic accelerated what was already building up in their lives. 

This has led to the phenomenon of The Great Resignation across Australia, the United States and other countries, where workers take advantage of tight job markets and recovering economies to find opportunities that best align with their new priorities. 

We asked Cafestudy members how the pandemic made them rethink their career or values in life.

Mental health and burnout

COVID-19 took a toll on the mental health of Australians. For some, that bore out in feelings of burnout, while for others it crystalised a mood that had been building pre-pandemic.

"Many people were feeling burnout before Covid19."
"I'd been not very happy at my Job and home life for quite a while."
"I took leave to enjoy an interstate holiday as I had been under a lot of stress, then decided to use my long service leave and the pandemic hit during that time. Now I have decided never to go back to work."
"It has also made me prioritise my mental health."

Cafestudy members also mentioned travel restrictions and the inability to visit loved ones as reasons why their mental health suffered.

Seeking greener pastures

Industry shutdowns, erratic hours and additional work pressures caused Cafestudy members to re-evaluate their current employment situation and look elsewhere for new opportunities.

"I want more certainty in my work hours, I want to be in a company that respects that I want a life outside work."
I was working in Tourism when the pandemic hit, and it really showed just how little our employers cared about us! After 6 and a half years with the company, Covid made me re-think my career path. I'm now working for a new employer in a different industry, who honestly cares about their staff and gives me much more job security!"
"It definitely has made me think about my career, working in healthcare and having the vaccine made mandatory for us, I find contradictory and I'd like to move out of this industry.”

Maintaining flexibility

For many workers the COVID-19 pandemic led to seismic changes in their traditional day-to-day: working from home, online meetings, reduced hours or additional days off. Cafestudy members want to keep this flexibility, and are prepared to change jobs to do so.

"I’ve decided to search for new career options that could enable me to work from home."
"Not thinking of changing my job but enjoying the slow down pace and will most probably continue working the same amount of time and have more family time.”
"As I wanted to spend more time with my wife and visit my mum on weekends. I’ve taken a job that allows me to have Friday's off to be able to do this.”

Feel lucky for what I've got

Not all Cafestudy members were on the hunt for a new job: for some COVID-19 made them feel lucky for their lot in life.

"I think I just feel lucky to have a secure job, not leaving it anytime soon."
"The pandemic has made me realise don't be fussy with jobs, I got lucky with a Xmas job and am so grateful as I had been looking for a while."

Focus on what's most important

Above all, the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the resulting trials and tribulations allowed Cafestudy members to reflect on what was most important: time spent with family and friends.

"The pandemic has made me realise the importance of family in my life."
"Spend more time smelling the roses and stop worrying about little things. The world and life needed to pause and reset."
"Yes has made me feel more grateful for my family friends and spending time with them."
"It has made me change some values in life as now it's made me value my family and friends a lot more..."
"I have realised during these tough times, life in itself is very precious, being grateful for what and who we have in our lives is important, no one should take life for granted."

Have you made any changes recently as a result of these factors? Leave a comment below.

Comments 2

harry31626210
  • 29th Jul 2022 02:07pm

Long COVID is a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 or can appear weeks after infection. Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if their illness was mild, or if they had no symptoms.

Ziah
  • 28th Jul 2022 07:34pm

I have stopped looking for work full stop. No employer in my field can offer me remote work, and I simply cannot work on-site. I am immunocompromised, and now I have long covid, I simply cannot and will not leave my house except for medical appointments that cannot be done remotely (such as a CT scan and x-rays I had done recently after an horrific fall/continued pain). I am extremely privileged to have a supportive spouse who *can* work from home (which he currently does at least 2 days a week) and has a well-paying job in a position where he has a sympathetic management team.

I acknowledge that privilege, and the fact that so many people do not have this kind of privilege and have no choice but to go to work sick with covid due to pathetic government policies and employer policies that mean no work, no pay. But it this issue that means people like me cannot work, even if we want and need to, without significantly risking our lives. I have pericardial effusion - fluid round my heart - from covid (along with a host of other issues). If I get covid again, it will almost certainly cause heart attack and kill me. I got covid despite doing all the right things. Fully vaxxed. I was wearing a fit-checked N95 mask. I absolutely religiously used sanitiser gel getting into my car (which I have done for more than a decade due to immunocompromisation) and into the salon where I was about to have my first haircut in over 2 years. I was in the salon for 20 minutes (I don't have much hair). Everyone else in the room was masked - most with fabric masks - though my stylist kept losing his over his nose, and kept pulling it back up, then touching my hair. I then spent 5 minutes in the thrift store next door, sanitising on my way in. Then I got back in my car, sanitised my hands, keys and phone, and went and got fuel. I did not remove my mask in between. I sanitised as soon as I finished pumping - before going in and paying. I still got covid. And I am still suffering almost 5 months later, with no end in sight. There is no possible way I could be working away from my house. Remote working should be the norm for any position that can be one remotely, and more employers should be finding innovative ways to create remote position to fill current vacancies. It is ridiculous.